April 29, 2005

Editorial from NEJM on NIH open access

Article in this week's NEJM on the upcoming implementation of NIH's open access policy: Public Access to NIH-Funded Research. New England Journal of Medicine [0028-4793] Steinbrook, R. 2005 352(17) 1739 http://tc.liblink.umn.edu/sfx_local?sid=Entrez:PubMed&id=pmid:15858180

Discusses some of the possible short-term implications for authors and for PubMed Central.

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April 26, 2005

Whose Molecules Are These?

Business Week 4/25/2005 issue

Whose Molecules Are These?

The National Institutes of Health thought it had a great idea for advancing science -- but its concept is threatening the world's largest scientific society. The plan: put information about a vast number of molecules, which could be used to probe genes and biological functions, into a public database, dubbed PubChem. Scientists then could use the data to uncover new knowledge or new drugs. The information would come from other public databases, scientific papers, and publicly funded research.

But the project has run into fierce opposition from the 158,000-member American Chemical Society (ACS). The nonprofit group has its own database of 22 million molecules, the Chemical Abstracts Service, that typically costs thousands of dollars to access and accounts for more than half of the society's $421 million annual budget.

The two databases are complementary, argues NIH's Dr. Francis Collins: "We have no intention of duplicating information." But ACS complains that PubChem, which already contains data on 850,000 molecules, looks virtually identical to its offering. "Do taxpayers want their money to be used for something that's already done well in the private sector?" asks ACS Executive Director Madeleine Jacobs.

The warring factions have agreed to try to work out a solution. "I hope we can resolve this in a way that does not put us out of business," says Jacobs.

By John Carey

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April 1, 2005

ACRL provides Scholarly Communications toolkit to support advocacy efforts for academic and research libraries

CHICAGO-- The Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) offers members a Web-based Scholarly Communications toolkit as a resource designed to support advocacy efforts that work toward changing the scholarly communication system and to provide information on scholarly communication issues for librarians, faculty, academic administrators and other campus stakeholders.

The toolkit aims to meet the needs of the full range of academic institutions represented in the ACRL membership base. A primary goal of the toolkit is to summarize key issues and content in order to give readers quick, basic information on scholarly communication topics.

"I'm delighted that the ACRL Scholarly Communications Toolkit is now available to support learning and advocacy related to scholarly communications issues," said Ray English, chair of ACRL's Scholarly Communications Committee. "ACRL owes special thanks to Karen Williams, now Associate University Librarian for Academic Programs, University of Minnesota, who created the toolkit during a recent sabbatical leave from the University of Arizona."

The toolkit, which is available on the ACRL Scholarly Communication Web page, www.ala.org/ala/acrl/acrlissues/scholarlycomm/scholarlycommunication.htm, is designed with three pathways: one for academic administrators, one for faculty and one for librarians. Key issues chosen for inclusion are the effects of inflationary price increases and relatively stable information access budgets; new alternatives for disseminating scholarly information; aggregated or bundled electronic content; author control of intellectual property; and publisher mergers and acquisitions.

In addition to a basic introduction of each topic, other tools featured in the site include a bibliography that selects and annotates a few key items from among the wealth of information available and a selective Webliography providing annotated links to such items as online exhibits, sample publishing agreements, directories, price data and a list of other associations working in this arena. The three Act Now! lists suggest ways in which, working together, we can effect change.

The toolkit was created as a living site with the intention of revising content and adding tools as the issues change. The site will debut with tools contributed largely by members of the ACRL Scholarly Communications Committee. ACRL members are encouraged to submit other tools and suggestions in order to make the toolkit a vibrant and useful asset. For example, PowerPoint presentations and brochures created by librarians for use on their respective campuses can often be adapted for local use by others. Instructions for submitting ideas and materials are be available on the toolkit site.

The purpose of the ACRL Scholarly Communications Initiative is to work in partnership with other library and higher education organizations to encourage reform in the system of scholarly communication. Educating librarians to serve as advocates and change agents is an important strategy in the success of this initiative.

ACRL, a division of the American Library Association (ALA), represents more than 12,800 academic and research librarians and interested individuals. ACRL is the only individual membership organization in North America that develops programs, products and services to meet the unique needs of academic and research librarians. Its initiatives enable the higher education community to understand the role that academic libraries play in the teaching, learning and research environments.

Contact: Mary Ellen Davis
ACRL Executive Director

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